Thursday, January 14, 2010

Questions You Need To Ask Before Launching a Social Media Promotion

This series began with tactics to build, maintain and sustain a Social Media presence. In Developmental Tactics, we looked at some of the day-to-day tasks that would nourish a Social Media presence and bring it to maturity. For the purposes of today's discussion, we're going to assume that you are doing all those things as a matter of course and are now getting ready to launch something...something big. It might be a new website or your book, your band has a big gig, or your store is running a mid-winter sale...whatever it is, it's time to promote.

Before you create a promotional campaign, here's a few questions you must be able to answer in order to know what kind of campaign to run - and where to run it.

1) Who is this promotion for?

Is it for your established customers or are you trying to bring in new clients? Have you maxxed out the potential in one niche and want to focus on another? Is this promotion a way to bring old fans back into the fold?

Knowing who you are targeting in terms of where they are in their relationship with you, will help you craft a message that isn't obscure to newbies, or condescending to old friends.

One-size-fits-all releases makes sense if you are scattering your word widely across unfamiliar spaces and hoping someone there will be interested. In Social Media your network is made up of people and spaces that have a specific relationship with you and your business. Know who you're talking to to know what to say.

2) What's in it for them?

Once you know who you are talking to - and you may very well decide to have two or three different foci for you campaign, before you start choosing media, answer this - what is the benefit for the intended audience in what you are about to promote?

You know the benefit - the new website has more interactivity, or the collaborative tools will provide greater productivity, or the video or book is informative and/or entertaining. Can you make it interesting to your 12-year-old niece? (If you don't have a 12-year old niece, you can borrow mine. She has a finely tuned BS meter.) Look beyond the jargon and look honestly at whether you are selling snake oil or something solid. If you are working in a highly technical, specialized or professional field jargon is a requirement - but behind that, is there something real? If so, what? When you think about where to talk about your new project, think about what the benefit to your audience is, not the benefit to you. Sure - your new website looks nice, but if you have the same info as before, you'll keep getting the same bounce rate. Tell your audience what's in it for them, then deliver it to them.

3) What are the chances that they will watch/read/listen to/use what you are promoting?

Here's that moment that comes in every post here at SocialOptimized - the moment I ask you to step back and view your business without delusion.

Of course *you* are excited about the new book, site, sale or tool. You are happily trumpeting it everywhere you can think of. Take a deep breath and ask yourself "If it wasn't *my* business, would I care?" Be honest. In your enthusiasm, you may have slightly over-stated expectations for your ROI. Maybe your mailing list or FB page has 147 members, but you ordered 2400 t-shirts.

Engagement can't be forced - you have to offer your audience something of interest to them. A video-focused audience might not be as excited as you are about a whitepaper or a presentation.

Using your basic building and development tactics will ensure that your new endeavor reaches the ears of people who are interested - you've Found Your Audience. Ask yourself the above questions to help you create a promotion that will get them to to Engage with your business.
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